I am fourteen years old, and I believe that no transgender kids should have to go though middle school the way I did. In general, middle school sucks no matter who you are. Every student walks around with a figurative label floating above their head. Everyone is so worried about their appearance and how others perceive them. My label was “The Trans Kid in Our Class,” and there wasn’t much that I could do about that. I was and still am so grateful for my friends. They never saw me as any different. If anything, they noticed I was happier after I came out. However, there was always the students that judged me, based on the sole fact that I am transgender.
Most of the kids at school were raised by republican, conservative parents, like most of Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, Wyoming is where I am from and I will forever love the friends and family I have in Wyoming, but outside of my little circle, there’s the sparsely populated, very conservative state. I think kids are raised with narrow view points, and they don’t always have the capability to see that there are more than just straight, cis, white kids at school. For this reason, I was bullied for a few months at the beginning of eighth grade. After that, it was mostly little comments and remarks. I am transgender, and I can’t really change that. It’s the same as the fact that I have blue eyes. I can’t change that. In seventh and eighth grade, it felt like I didn’t really have a place in society, and I was just “the trans kid.” The only time I felt welcome was GSA. It helped me realize I do have a place in society.
One of the ways we can give trans kids–as well as other marginalized groups–the same opportunities as everyone else, is reconstructing bullying programs such as Olweus. They target conflict resolution and how to report bullying, but they don’t cover who gets bullied. They claim it can happen to anyone. That is nonsense. It happens to gay kids, kids of colour, fat kids, poor kids, trans kids, etc. Adults need to teach kids who gets bullied and why. Maybe that could influence teaching kids that gender isn’t black and white. They need to see that gender differences should not affect how cis kids perceive trans kids. Most agree on good manners and being respectful. If that’s the case, then they should have they same manners and the same amount of respect towards everyone. I don’t want trans kids going to school with a label above their heads. I don’t want trans kids to hear rude remarks every time they go to school. I want everyone to see that a community is a big puzzle, with each individual being a puzzle piece. They are all needed to complete the puzzle, and not one piece is more important than the other.